Kandal provincial police are investigating the deaths of eight people who reportedly died from drinking rice wine in Skor village in Lvea Em district’s Sarika commune on May 10.

Another villager who drank with the eight is receiving treatment at a hospital in hospital in Phnom Penh.

Lvea Em district police chief Heng Sophal said on May 17 that police suspect the deaths were caused by the wine because all the villagers were “alcoholics”, but he noted that this could not be confirmed until the results of laboratory tests are released.

“We can only confirm that all of the people who died were addicted to wine. But we don’t know if they died due to the wine,” he said.

Provincial police chief Choeun Socheth said the deceased, aged 29 to 57, had attended a funeral where they had drunk wine.

The survivor, 42, is being treated in a hospital in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district.

Sophal said if laboratory results reveal the deaths were caused by wine, producers and sellers will be legally responsible. For the time being, authorities had temporarily closed local wine production and sales.

He said police will check whether local rice wine producers had permission from authorities. Otherwise, their production will be stopped.